Volume 95, Issue 39

Friday, November 9, 2001
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Noise Conspiracy aims left

Play lacks more than a convincing plot

Planet Smashers: five guys in a van

You perv! That one-eyed green thing is a monster

You perv! That one-eyed green thing is a monster

Monsters Inc.

(voices of) Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Tilly

Directed By: Peter Doctor, David Silverman and Lee Unkrich

Four stars (out of five)

By Chad Finkelstein
Gazette Staff

Gazette File Photo

Lately, it seems satisfaction is often compromised at the theatre.

Which is why it's such a nice surprise when a movie can transcend this tendency, offers something different and leave you unsatisfied only at its end, when you were not ready to stop having fun.

Pixar should be credited with giving life to a new breed of animation that has inspired the fantasies of Antz and Shrek. These movies take standard formats, break down the boundaries of traditional animation and create some of the most cross-generationally appealing stories of the last half-decade.

Thankfully, this trend continues with Monsters Inc., Pixar's newest foray into the ever-evolving technological canvas it initiated.

Movies like these work on so many levels.

First, the animation is entirely state-of-the-art – the characters are very life-like, but not so much that you cannot discover the humour in cartoons reacting physically like human beings.

Secondly, the jokes in this movie are far beyond the mere scope of childish slapstick. While it is a family film at face value, older audiences are much more likely to appreciate the subtle pop culture, political and social references and innuendo.

Furthermore, the storylines are hysterical.

The plot of Monsters Inc. focuses on childhood myths. In particular, the dreaded fear of monsters hiding in the closet. The movie not only admits these creatures exist, but it actually makes their operations a legitimate business.

The monsters are employees of Monsteropolis, where they gleefully work to make children scream in order to generate enough energy to power the city.

When a corrupt monster tries to extend his power too far, a child enters the monster world for the first time in history, igniting mass hysteria. The onus to get her back to the real world falls on Scully, the monster that first discovers the kid, and Mike, his one-eyed buddy.

It doesn't seem hyperbolic to say Monsters Inc. might be impossible to dislike. The story is unique, the jokes are well-constructed and the detail is given ample attention, indicating the years of work put into the film's production.

The protocol at Monsters Inc., where the scaring takes place, is particularly amusing. Each monster is assigned an engineer to map out the doors each one will enter in a day and the company is rife with themes of both competition and celebrity.

The gags don't mock human nature, but playfully force us to recognize common characteristics we all share, as embodied by these working monsters.

One of the most satisfying movies this year, Monsters Inc. will make you feel happy and excited about the creative walls Pixar will break down next.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001